WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Angus King (I-ME) filed an amendment to the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would add key technologies impacting national security to the sectors that can utilize the FAST-41 improved federal permitting program, which will encourage development of these technologies in the United States.
America is losing opportunities to domestically develop national-security-critical industries—from semiconductors to electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy—because of permitting process uncertainty and conflicts. This will limit America in the technological competition with China and other nations that will define the next century.
In 2015, Senator Portman and then-Senator Claire McCaskill co-authored the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which Congress ultimately enacted into law as Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. That law, now known as FAST-41, significantly reformed the federal infrastructure permitting process while leaving environmental protections in place. Most significantly, it created the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council), which brings together agencies at the start of the permitting process for some of the largest, most complicated infrastructure projects (covered projects) to write out a comprehensive plan for the permitting process across agencies. The public can track the permitting progress for each of those projects at www.permits.performance.gov. The FAST-41 permitting program was made permanent and improved upon in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.
The Portman-Hagerty-King bipartisan amendment would build upon the successful FAST-41 permitting program, which promotes increased coordination between permitting agencies without compromising health, safety, or environmental protection, by adding “semiconductors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, high-performance computing and advanced computer hardware and software, quantum information science and technology, data storage, data management, and cybersecurity” as eligible sectors, so that these projects can benefit from the same program.
“Expanding the FAST-41 permitting process improvements to more projects—especially those affecting national security—is common sense,” said Senator Portman. “Over the past six years, the FAST-41 process has substantially reduced the permitting process timeline for covered projects by increasing agency communication and accountability. This amendment will leverage that process to make America more competitive and secure.”
“Developing and re-shoring key technologies impacting national security, from semiconductors to electric car batteries, will not only create millions of American jobs, but boost American supply chains and national security,” Senator Hagerty said. “By creating greater permitting process certainty and coordination and encouraging these industries of the future to invest in the United States, we will win the strategic competition with Communist China to develop the technologies of tomorrow.”